KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has deported a Saudi blogger accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) to his home country, where he faces the death penalty.
"The Saudi writer was repatriated to his home country this Sunday morning," a police spokesman told Reuters on Sunday, February 12.
"This is an internal Saudi matter that we cannot comment on."
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Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old blogger, sparked outrage in last week with comments posted on the Prophet's birthday a week ago.
"I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you, he tweeted.
"I will not pray for you."
The tweet has sparked online calls from thousands of Saudis for punishing the blogger for his "highly despicable irresponsible behavior and his terribly outrageous attitudes."
Saudi scholars declared the blogger apostate and ordered his arrest over the blasphemous tweet.
The Saudi blogger has issued a statement in which he apologized for his remarks and announced his repentance.
The Malaysian home ministry defended its decision to deport the blogger, saying the charges against him would be decided by Saudi authorities.
"Malaysia has a long-standing arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other, and (Kashgari) will be repatriated under this arrangement," the ministry said in a statement.
"The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities."
Insulting the Prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam.
Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution in Saudi Arabia. It is not a capital crime in Malaysia.
Saudi scholars will judge whether the blogger has repented from his insults against the Prophet.
"His repentance will have to be assessed by judges who will decide whether he was truthful or was lying," Abdul Rahman Bin Nasser Al Barrak said, reported the Gulf News.
"We have doubts that the repentance statement was genuine and we believe that it was written by someone else for him in the hope that he will be protected and will not be brought to justice.
The scholar believes that the blogger was the victim of a conspiracy of negative influence from atheists and a possible irresponsible wish for fame.
The blogger's mother also opines that her son was affected by people around him to take the wrong path.
"We are terribly shocked by what happened. This is a real tragedy," the mother told a Saudi radio.
"I still cannot believe that my son will insult anyone and I blame those who sat with him.
The mother said that her son had performed hajj three times and was an avid reader of religious books."Lately, he started reading philosophy and psychology books and these might have influenced him.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net